Thursday, October 8, 2015

Left Behind: A Shorty and Shivery Tale

A friend issued a challenge to write a short scary story in just 100 words. That intrigued me! I'll be posting one of these a week during October, just because, you know, it's the season for ghosties and ghoulies and frightful things. My friend will be collecting these short-shorts from other writers and will have them all posted on his website a few days before Halloween. I'll post the link to that as soon as it's available.

And now, the story:

“Feels good to move, doesn’t it?” The voice from the window was deep, smoky.

“Yes. I’ve been sitting too long.” Footsteps sounded on the stairs.

“Here they come. Too soon, too soon…” She reached out as if to push something away.

“Steady,” the voice whispered. “All will be well, you’ll see.”

Cold air entered with two men dressed in black. “Here she is. Died right here in her favorite chair.”

The men lifted a limp form and moved slowly out the door.

“Wait! I’m still here!”
The curtains stirred. “Hush, dear. Come with me. All will be well, you’ll see.”

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's Going to Be a Storied Month

October is always a busy month for storytellers and my schedule for the month certainly bears that out.
What better month to be traveling around our state, with the leaves changing and the air crisp and cool?
Add in a little swing north to Brooklyn, NY, and then down south to Miami to visit my son, and I'll be seeing a lot of interesting, beautiful sights while spinning tales.

Here's a look at the month ahead, starting with tomorrow night--yikes! Gory stories? Yes indeed, for the strong at heart. And I've got a brand new, chilling tale for it too.

October 7: Gory Story Theater! La Belle Theater, South Charleston, WV 7:00pm

Following the Gory Story event, it's:
October 10: Ripley Do You Believe? Ghost Walk, Ripley WV 7:00pm and 9:00pm
A ghostly mile-long stroll through the dark side of town! Lots of tales, lots of strangeness!
And then:
October 12: West Virginia Ghost Stories: for ages 3rd grade and up. At:
11:00am: St. Albans Public Library, St. Albans, WV
2:00pm Main Library, 123 Capitol St, Charleston, WV
6:00pm Dunbar Public Library, Dunbar WV. .
October 13: WV Ghost Stories, Clendenin Public Library, Clendenin, WV 11:00 am
A quick dash across the state to the Eastern Panhandle for 
October 13: Speak! Shepherdstown, WV, 7:30pm, Shepherdstown Community Club, Shepherdstown, WV. Information at Speak! Shepherdstown Facebook page.
And then back to present at 
October 14-15: WV Storytelling Festival, Jackson's Mill, WV.School event, with an evening concert for the general public on October 14 at the Assembly Hall for the general public. For information:
160 WVU Jackson Mill, Weston, WV 26452 (304) 269-5100
On the way home, I'll stop by Elkview for
October 15: WV Ghost Stories, Elk Valley Library, Crossings Mall, Elkview, WV 6:00pm
and once again--
October 17: WV Ghost Stories, Cross Lanes Library, Cross Lanes, WV, 12:00 noon.
October 17: Ripley Do You Believe? Ghost Walk, Ripley WV 7:00pm and 9:00pm
A short break the following week before the next event:
October 23: Full day storytelling, Jane Lew Elementary, Jane Lew, WV,
and then off to New York!
October 25: Bady House Concert, Brooklyn, NY. Appalachian ghost stories! Information at the BadyHouseConcert Facebook page.

 BADYHouseStorytellingConcert #22

True Ghosts! 


October 25, 2015 at 7:00 PM



It's the 2nd Annual Halloween Edition.

 Weird, wacky and real. 
 Get ready to be scared!

Welcome to BADYHouse Storytelling
Concerts, a monthly series featuring 4 storytellers - one from out of town, three from NYC.  Each performer has a half hour to tell one long story (or a few stories) of his or her choice.

The venue? A comfy living room located in Kensington, Brooklyn. Come in, kick off your shoes, put your feet up, eat some home-made cookies, get a drink, hang out with great audience members and listen to some fabulous storytelling!

Where: 85 Chester Avenue
When:  7:00 PM

(F train to Church Avenue)


For more info
contact or718.633.6651.   
What's a house concert?  It is performance - storytelling, music, magic, poetry - that takes  place in the comfort of a home. Performers get to tell longer stories, network and ask questions. Audiences get to hang out comfortably and to be part of the process.  All donations go to the performers.  

And family time at the end of the month:
October 26-28: Miami, FL visiting my son smile emoticon
October 30-Nov 1: unavailable--if the weather is good, we'll be cooking down some apple butter!

I hope your October will be a fine month, and that maybe somewhere along the way our paths will cross.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Last Day in Ireland: Newgrange

From the Ultimate History Project webpage.
Go there to see photos of the mound
being restored
I have wanted to visit Newgrange ever since I listened to Frank Delaney's book, The Last Storyteller. It tells the history of Ireland through the voice of an old storyteller. Fascinating listening, particularly since it was read by the author.

So, Newgrange. Again, we were on that day tour with the guide who was a nice lady and certainly worked hard to keep us entertained, but for a place like this I wanted quiet and time to feel and listen. I managed to grab a few minutes and came away satisfied. If ever I get back to Newgrange I will go on my own, without a tour, and be there very early in the morning.

We were met at the tomb by one of Newgrange's own tour guides, Philip. He was knowledgeable and courteous, even when he explained that we could not take photos inside the tomb. This was very disappointing to those of us who had traveled a long way to see it and might never get back again. I question the reasons for this, as surely photography would not damage those ancient stones. I suppose it is income-related--they want to protect the copyright/ownership of any photography of Newgrange as much as possible, and not allowing photos means people have to come there to see it. Which leaves out a lot of people who may never have the means to do so

The entrance to Newgrange. It is a magical place. I was a disappointed, however, to learn that the exterior was actually a recreation of the site based on the research of one particular scientist, archeologist Michael O'Kelley. Many scientists have disputed his arrangement and design because the technology to erect such a structure was not available in 3200 BC when Newgrange was probably built. I have to agree. I think it looks entirely too neat and modern. 

I believe, as the scientists who worked on the nearby Knowth mound do, that the stones were likely some sort of paving around the entrance. Knowth mound is not yet open to tourists on the inside, but work has been done on its exterior and the stones on that site are used as a sort of terrace around the mound.

The stones used at Newgrange were all original to the site, which is pretty amazing when one considers the sheer number of them. The mound was discovered in 1699 by a landowner who had noticed a large amount of stone in the area and had ordered his workers to dig up the stone to be used for another purpose. The workers, however, found the stone entryway and alerted the owner, Mr. Campbell. Soon after a historian from Dublin visited the site. Found in the tomb were things like beads, animal bones, pieces of glass and 2 human skeletons. 

Many of the stones have carvings in them that were done with stone implements.

This large stone is at the entrance. 

Don't you wonder about those symbols, and what they meant? Were they simply art for art's sake, or were they a map of the area, or did they have some religious/spiritual/superstitious or ceremonial significance? Did it signify the placement of various tribes during winter solstice, and the "eternity" spirals a path to march or dance on that date?

It's another topic scholars disagree about, but I am content to think that the carvers were simply creating beauty--the image of a Stone Age man (or woman) sitting at this beautiful spot, stone tools in hand, and simply creating a design that pleased them makes me happy.

 Then there are the large standing stones,

these concrete markers that note the site of some other structure,

more stones marking...what?...

...and in the distance, the smaller mound of Dowth. Certainly this Boyne River Valley was a place of importance to bygone cultures.

But the valley, its cattle and sheep, clouds and green,

and the peaceful River Boyne are keeping that secret to themselves.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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